A J A ABEYNAYAKE
COLOMBO ‘: Colombo Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage on Wednesday , November 02 remanded the owner of Thico Group of Companies (Pvt.) Ltd., Thilini Priyamali, her business partner Isuru Bandara, and alleged accomplice Ven. Borella Sirisumana Thera, till 16 Nov.
They were arrested for allegedly defrauding businessmen to the tune of three billion rupees.
First, Thilini Priyamali and Isuru Bandara were presented before the Magistrate via Skype. The Magistrate rejected bail applications filed by the defendants.
Then Sirisumana Thera was presented before the Magistrate. Investigators said that the monk had been arrested on Monday and the preliminary inquiries were not over. Future investigations would be hindered if the Thera was granted bail, CID investigators said.
It was revealed that Carom de Silva, a businessman, had visited the monk’s temple with Bandara. During such visits, the monk had pretended to be in a trance and asked the businessman to invest in Priyamali’s company. The businessman sold several lands and vehicles and invested Rs. 750 million, the Court was told. The businessman had been told that his money had been used to buy shares of top Sri Lankan companies. However, the money had not been invested in stocks, the investigators told the Court. De Silva had also donated a number of valuable gifts to the monk, the investigators said.
Chief Inspector Niroshani Hewapathirana told the Court that eight gold-plated brass bars had been found in Bandara’s house. These were used to convince investors that Priyamali was extremely wealthy, she said.
CI Hewapathirana told the Court that they had found Rs. 15 million in the possession of Bandara’s mother and she had told the police that the money belonged to Bandara. She also said Bandara had deposited seven million rupees in two private banks and the CID requested the Court to freeze the accounts. The request was granted.
The investigators told the Court that Priyamali had smuggled in a mobile phone to prison and she had made 11 phone calls. Six persons she called had been asked to make statements. However, none of them had visited the CID, the court was told.
Lawyers representing Priyamali told the Court that mainstream media and social media sites were circulating false information about their client and asked him to issue an order preventing the media from doing so.
Magistrate Gamage said that the Court could not instruct the media on what they could and could not publish.(Island)
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